Bank Support

Understanding the do’s and don’t’s of banking is essential to your financial wellbeing. For tips on how to make banking work for you, just ask Alex, our expert banker. Learn more about what it means to have a home appraisal. Understand the value of online bill pay. Discover what you can or cannot put into a safe deposit box.

Question: How do home appraisals work?  – Ruth from Davenport, Iowa.

Answer: An appraisal is an unbiased valuation of a property.  This is done by a licensed appraiser who conducts a thorough investigation to find the fair market value of both the house and land.  An appraiser can perform a full appraisal, a drive by appraisal, or a desktop appraisal.  A full appraisal is when the appraiser takes pictures, records measurements, and evaluates the conditions of both the interior and exterior of the house.  A drive by appraisal or summary appraisal is when the appraiser only looks at the exterior of the house from a nearby road to document the house’s condition.   A desktop appraisal is when the appraiser does nothing in person but uses data available from third party sources to gather crucial information like tax records, neighborhood listing process and property photos.   Once the information is collected, the appraiser will generate a final report that includes their overall assessment.

Question:  Should I use online bill pay?  – Kevin from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Answer: Online bill pay is a service offered by most financial institutions through their online banking platform.  Customers can manage and pay their bills electronically using a computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet.  Funds are sent directly from the customer’s account, either electronically or via paper check, to pay their bills.  There are several benefits to using online bill pay.  First, it is convenient.  Bills paid through online bill pay are done through one centralized location rather than the old fashion way of receiving a bill and mailing a check.  Second, it is cheap.  Financial institutions generally do not charge their customers a fee for online bill pay.  They also save the customer money for the cost of stamps, envelopes and checks.  Finally, it is secured.  Financial institutions use several features like passcodes, security questions, encryption software and automatic sign off to ensure online bill pay is safe from hackers.  I highly recommend online bill pay to those who are computer savvy.  If not, online bill pay might be too difficult to navigate and use.

Question: What can’t I have in my safe deposit box?  – Sarah from Tampa, Florida.

Answer: A safe deposit box is a secured metal container that is used to store important documents and valuables like passports, Social Security cards, vehicle titles, property deeds, stock and bond certificates, jewelry and rare coins.  They are located inside a vault, and two keys are required to access the safe deposit box.  One key is held by the owner of the box while the other key is with the branch.   Items that are not permitted in a safe deposit box include firearms, explosives, hazardous materials and illegal drugs.  Please note that financial institutions are not permitted to know what is inside the container.

Written by: Alex Sanchez, Branch Manager

Important: For your specific questions about banking, contact your banking expert, Alex, at: alexexpertbanker@gmail.com

Alex is starting his 17th year in the banking industry.  He has worked for such notable banks as Bank of America, US Bank, and Chase.  Alex has his bachelor’s degree in Business Economic from the University of California Riverside.